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Business

Monsanto is buying Delta & Pine Land

August 21, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 34

In late 1998, Monsanto agreed to buy cottonseed producer Delta & Pine Land for $1.3 billion in stock. The deal was called off more than a year later, Monsanto said, because of difficulty in winning government regulatory approvals. By that time, owing to Pharmacia's impending takeover of Monsanto, Monsanto's stock had appreciated, and the Delta deal would have been worth $1.9 billion. Monsanto unveiled a new deal last week, announcing that it has signed a definitive agreement to buy Delta & Pine Land for $42 per share in cash, or about $1.5 billion, subject to approval from the Justice Department and Delta & Pine Land's shareholders. This time around, Monsanto says it will divest the U.S. assets of its Stoneville cottonseed business, which it acquired in 2005, if that is required to close the deal. Security analysts at Merrill Lynch believe Justice Department approval is more likely now than in 1999, as a result of losses in market share by Delta & Pine Land and Monsanto's broad licensing of cotton traits. Because of the regulatory reviews, no time frame has been set for closing the transaction.

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